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templemagic
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Sunderland, North-East England
420 Posts

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Hi guys,

Looking into buying some new kit. Have any of you got any good/bad experiences with Gerry and Leonora Frennette from Magic Makers Illusions?

The illusions look fantastic and at great prices but does anyone have any more info or advice?

Thanks,
TM
ROBERT TEMPLE
"The Power to Amaze"

robert@roberttemple.co.uk
http://www.roberttemple.co.uk
Dave Dorsett
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Macomb, Illinois
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This may be an unusual point of view, but when I was a full-time builder of illusion the Frennette's were one of the few companies I didn't mind losing out to. The customers I had who also purchased from them were very happy with the equipment they got.
We did have occasion to make some repairs to a MagicMakers piece (hard use, no builder problem) and were genuinely impressed with the construction and finish.
Hope this helps.
Dave Dorsett
Douglas~Wayne Illusioneering
The Mirror Images
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Inner circle
Michigan/USA
1980 Posts

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I have heard good and bad about them. They have some impressive stuff. What are you looking into getting.

Sorry I am no help. Best of luck.

Michael
Steven and Michael, The Mirror Images
The MOST Identical Twin Illusionist
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briansmagic
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USA
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I have a friend who owns one of their props and I don't think he is to terribly impressed w/ the prop and I am not either. The prop is very deceptive and has a beautiful finish but isn't all that sturdy. It shifts around a lot, is a bit wabbley, creaks a lot when it is rolled around and when the girl is inside, etc.
So I would say it looks nice but isn't super sturdy.
templemagic
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Sunderland, North-East England
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OK Guys,

Thanks for the help. We are specifically interested in "The Crusher" and "Out of Nowhere" appearance

If anyone has any experience with these props it would be really appreciated.

Thanks,
TM
ROBERT TEMPLE
"The Power to Amaze"

robert@roberttemple.co.uk
http://www.roberttemple.co.uk
rmwilson
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I use to work with magic makers as a part time job, and many of their props were very cheaply finished off its all glitz.. They would cut corners every where they could to save costs and increase profit. Although the effects work as an effect for what you pay and what you get I would not be impressed if I was a customer. There is no professional fabrication, no welding no machining in many cases its only assembled with the construction limitations of bolts and pins. Having seen his "work shop" and his tools to build the props - I am surprised they stay together at all ... the ideas are sound... If you do business with them I advise caution... they are very quick to protect them selves with clauses and quotes and complicated contracts all in their favor. Be prepared to work around their conditions and lifestyle – which at times is awkward to say the best! – and no its not because they are busy its because they are stubborn and head strong to have things the way they want. I'd find out what magicians use their prop and ho many would buy again... the quality fit and finish is certainly not like any of the big name Vegas illusion builders.

just my .02
The Mirror Images
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It adds up to 4 cents now.

Thanks guys for the info.

Michael
Steven and Michael, The Mirror Images
The MOST Identical Twin Illusionist
http://www.themirrorimages.com
Check out our latest new effect
- Liquid Steel NEW
- MotoBox NEW
- MotoMation NEW
- Voyager
Johnnie Blaze
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Here are some words for ya BUYER BEWARE
enough said I hope
Gerry Frenette
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Fellow magicians,

A friend of a customer notified us of this thread. Former employee rmwilson fails to mention that we had a falling out a few years back when he wanted to build one of our original illusions for himself. After discussing the ramifications back then, we decided that it was not fair to our customers. For the same reason, we always refuse when someone wants to buy blueprints from us. An inexperienced novice "does not know what he does not know" and can easily get into trouble, and turn out an inferior prop. We have no hard feelings and don't feel the need to bad-mouth him just because we disagree. I guess he doesn't feel the same way. He states:
"They would cut corners every where they could to save costs and increase profit." This is simply not true. He was not deeply involved in the illusion building and has no right to make that assumption. His job was to do simple things, like build wooden crates for shipping or paint interior surfaces black, or other uncomplicated things -- and always under supervision. He continues: "There is no professional fabrication, no welding no machining". This is again not true. We have a welder and machinist, and use them when needed. It is rare that steel is needed (welding). "in many cases its only assembled with the construction limitations of bolts and pins." And there is nothing wrong with that. We have many professionl customers who have used such illusions in hundreds of shows without a problem, myself included. "I am surprised they stay together at all ..." He has neither the knowledge or ability to make such a comment. "If you do business with them I advise caution... they are very quick to protect them selves with clauses and quotes and complicated contracts all in their favor." It's just common business practice for any professional company to protect themselves in their contracts. "they are stubborn and head strong to have things the way they want." I can't totally argue with that, but we also go out of our way to make sure that the customer gets what they want, it's just smart business. "I'd find out what magicians use their prop and ho many would buy again..." This is sound advice for anyone, any time. "the quality fit and finish is certainly not like any of the big name Vegas illusion builders." This may be true, (although rather strongly stated), but the prices are also much lower, and I believe there is no difference to the audience. I would take what he says with a grain of salt for the reasons I mentioned above. I would give a lot more respect to the unbiased former illusion builder above who states: "This may be an unusual point of view, but when I was a full-time builder of illusion the Frennette's were one of the few companies I didn't mind losing out to. The customers I had who also purchased from them were very happy with the equipment they got.
We did have occasion to make some repairs to a MagicMakers piece (hard use, no builder problem) and were genuinely impressed with the construction and finish."

Nobody is perfect all the time. The incident with the steel cable that snapped (mentioned above), is one example of a rare problem. It was tested thoroughly and there was no way I could have known that it would snap, and I felt terrible about it.

Bottom line, I have heard many stories of problems people had, even with the "big name" builders. We are all human. If these problems were consistent with us, we would not be in business for 21 years. Just read the endorsements on our web site. They are all genuine, and represent the vast majority of our clients' views. We have plenty of satisfied customers that keep coming back, and keep us busy building.
Somehow, in these forums, we always hear more from the unhappy customers in the world then the happy ones. Sometimes when someone gives you their "2 cents worth" that may be all it's worth.

I am about to go out of town, will not read or respond to any other letters about this.

Gerry Frenette
Magic Makers Inc. Canada
Darren_Rockwell
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Orlando, FL
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Having done business with Gerry for 8+ years I feel that I can give both the pro's and con's which helps in the decision of buying an illusion. No, Magic Makers is not a "Vegas" builder, but like clothing, you are going to pay top dollar for a name brand. I have purchased from many of the big boy builders and must say in comparison Gerry's illusions are in NO WAY poor quality or just thrown together. A lot of time is spent in designing and if an illusion is not workable or just not entertaining to an audience, Gerry will not waste his time on it.

There have been illusions I purchased from Gerry that I have used 100's of times with little or no repairs and others that were never used just because they did not fit the show. But if there were any problems, Gerry would stand behind his prop 100%.

I have based the following information off of my own experience with Magic Makers and hope that this might be help full to others when choosing a builder.

-Magic Makers Inc. Canada-
(scale: 1 being poor, 10 being great)

PRICE TO QUALITY: (8.0) - Can't beat that rate of exchange. Many of Magic Makers props are priced reasonable for what you receive.

COMMUNICATION: (9.5) - I don't think there has ever been an unreturned phone call and if there is ever a problem, expect to have some solution with in 48 hours unlike many other builders that get to it when they can.

DESIGN: (8.5) - Much time and thought goes into each illusion and many of their original props have very creative and deceptive methods.

MATERIALS: (6.5) - Even though the props are well put together, you might want to specify little things like laminate rather than paint and polished aluminum rather than milled finish.

TROUBLESHOOTING: (7.5) - The illusions are tested to make sure they work and for safety before leaving but like most things over time you may have to do some touch up's.

OVERALL SATISFACTION: (8.0) - Magic Makers is a great company for that beginner illusionist to take the next step in investing in a well made prop, but also serves to many of the full time working performers.


I hope this has been help full to anyone thinking about buying from Magic Makers in making an educated decision. One idea is to purchase a used Magic Makers prop (MagicAuction.com has a few) and see if it fits your style.

Darren Rockwell
DR
Magic Monkichi
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Ontario, Canada
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Darren;
Any chance of getting reviews of the illusions that you purchased from them ? thanks.

Matt
BondJames628
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Alabama
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I've never really done business with these folks... but I did send them a friendly email asking a "magician to magician" question. I was in the process of building the asrah leviation, and had a few questions about materials, strongly emphasizing in the email that I knew what I was talking about. Proving that I was a magician and was indeed building the prop. My reply was a quick, slap in the face of me not knowing what I was talking about, and that I should let the pro's handle it (loosely meaning I should pay them to build it). They also made it sound as if I couldn't build anything to save my live, which in fact I can. Again, I'm not sure about their products, but I really didn't like their attitude, and would never do business with them even if I was given the chance.

Just my "two cents", as many have stated.
Beyond Impossible: www.freewebs.com/illoosionzmagic

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Blair Marshall
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Montreal, Canada
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RE: BondJames628: I would have lunch or visit with Doug (Henning) whenever he was down in Montreal (before he hit big). I knew he had the Harbin book, and I enjoyed building illusions. There was not much in print in those days. I asked the simple question as to what thickness of ply was recommended in the Harbin book to build with, his reply was "its' in the book and we have signed an agreement not to disclose". Say what????????? People have different attitudes on this topic. But I am surprised that you feel a dealer would (should ?) discuss, or disclose, the materials used in building a prop, they currently list and manufacture.

As a comment also, when Alain Choquette was looking for quick turn around on some illusions, I suggested Gerry. He was pleased with the service. And at that time was not in the position to yet to make a call to Bill Smith, or Gaughan! He made money with them.

Gerry is a very interesting guy who I have known since he lived down East, and before Magic Makers. Works hard and is honest.

My comment, I have seen several of Gerrys' illusions. If I needed one for a special show next week, I would not hesitate to pick up the phone and call him.

But with any major investment in a prop, you must do your own homework. The cost of a prop may not reflect its' quality, or uniqueness. No matter who you buy it from. In magic, it is not quite "buyer beware", but you do have to be careful. Know what you are buying, who in the market builds it and ask the builder for referrals.

Anyway, take care all.

Blair Marshall
"ShaZzam!"
Caveat Lector
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Mr. Marshall,
Al I have to say is that I enjoy reading your posts very much. You speak with knowledge and respect, and that is something to be admired. I don't often give praze but even though I have never met you I feel that you are someone that I would call apon to get an honest and well thought out reply.
Much respect,
J
Corrupting the art of magic, one show at a time
www.underworldent.com
www.myspace.com/johnshawcomedymagic
sperris
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http://www.Anti-Conjuror.com
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I have seen only a few of their illusions personally, most recently the stargate illusion, and will comment with what I have come to understand regarding magic makers. Their pops are unique and definetly competative in pricing with other builders. If you're the type of guy who does an illusion once ever two months or so, you'll probably do fine with their illusions. But for the real working performer doing fairs (for example) and whatnot 5 + shows a day or 2 shows a night etc etc the props will not hold up. Now, this may fluxuate depending on which illusion you are using. Stargate, from what I remember seeing, went together like an erector set and was very unsturdy. This could have been the performer's fault in assembly for this show, but I doubt it considering who it was that was doing it. Now they may have also become more knowledgable with building since these props I saw and have learned what materials to use where, when, and why. If possible I always try to get video of an actual performance, not a demo set up in a studio, to see it under live conditions.
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Farrell
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I've only seen one Magic Makers prop in person... a Vanishing Dove Carousel and it didn't even have a piston in it it Slammed down into the base with suck force and such a clammering slam I can't believe they even let it out of their shop. if you put a dove in this prop it would most certainly kill them. that's the only prop I've seen but the builder did not think at all about what he was doing. the Client had to spend 1000 extra dollars making this prop safe for his birds.
ruijorge
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Really?

Then I can see that is better to spend somre more bucks and buy illusion from the top illusion builders like Gaughan, Bill Smith, William Kennedy and David Mendoza..
Magicque
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A well-known performer once told me never to work with one of their props. They are not sturdy enough.
Jack Murray
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St. Petersburg Fl.
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Ruijorge, you don't always need to but from the "big boys" to get quality. Do a search here for "Dream Illusions" for proof!!

Jack
Dream-Concepts
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It's worth pointing out that "reviews" of illusion builders are rarely worth the paper they're typed - I know people who have Bill Smith props and think they're gabage & have Studio Dominik props that they think are the best in the world.

When you choose a builder you're entering in to a very different set-up to that which you get from a magic shop - a much better comparison would be when you get a tailor / costume designer; you really are entering in to a relationship not simply a business transaction. When selecting a builder get chatting to them; make sure you're both on the same wavelength and that they understand your specific needs. Find out what their strengths and weekness's are and above all make sure it's somone you'd be happy dealing with all the time; not simply "putting up with" so that you can get your hands on a new toy. You also need to be ruthlessly honest with them; don't give them the same speil you normally give to other magicians - come clean and let them advise you on what's going to be right FOR YOU.
Our annual sale of Costumes & props is now on - view them at www.IllusionExchange.com
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